The elders

For ten years, my parents and father-in-law lived at Collington Life Care Community in Mitchellville, Maryland, a wonderful place where people can enjoy sharing interesting activities with others while they gradually age in place. All three of my relatives eventually passed away. I made so many friends visiting there that I keep returning to see them. I join The Sing for residents with Alzheimer’s on many Friday afternoons, enjoying the old songs and performing a capella renditions for them from old musical comedies. After The Sing last Friday, I went to visit a 96-year-old friend, an attorney who was one of the first women to sit for the Washington D.C. Bar exam. Although she has been bedridden for more than a year, her mind is sharp. There she was, reading Well Considered, nearly finished, although she can only hold up the book for a few pages at a time because it is so heavy for her. Stuck in the book was the dollar bill I gave her as change when she purchased the book. She had said, “What am I going to do with this?” (having nowhere to use cash).  I told her, “Use it for a book mark.” In writing about the 105-year-old woman in the nursing home in Well Considered, I had many real-life examples at Collington to draw from — people in their nineties and over 100 years old who are still telling their stories and participating in new ones.

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